Farne Isles 2014 – Diving with seals

Seal checking us out
Seal checking us out

Myself, Wendy, Stewart, Andrew, Alistair, Anna, Graham, Gordon, Callum, and Duncan all went to the Farne Isles in September to dive with the seals. We had a hard boat with a lift (I love those) and most of us stayed in Wooden Wigwams  at Springhill Farm an excellent clean, quiet campsite.

Our accommodation for the weekend.4
Our accommodation for the weekend.

1st dive myself and Wendy encountered a seal lying on the bottom at 20 metres, as soon as we approached it took off and started swimming round us nibbling Wendy’s fins and circling us for a considerable time. It was then joined by a slightly larger seal that joined in the play (in a non-threatening way Ken!).

We agreed on surfacing that even if we never saw another seal the rest of the weekend this encounter was enough and had us grinning like Cheshire cats

Seal flyby!
Seal flyby!

2nd day out  I dived with Wendy again, once down around 18m we saw Stewart and Duncan on the bottom watching a seal that was just lying there looking back at them. I joined in the lying on the bottom game. Wendy swam over the seal. In seal language this translated as “GAME ON”. The seal followed Wendy swimming round her tugging at her fins, at one point it was almost nose to nose with her and she got to pet its head.

During this time we were joined by another seal who buzzed the rest of us for ages. The whole thing must have lasted about 15mins.  The seals followed us up on our ascent to 12m before leaving. I couldn’t believe how fast I went through my air, mind you I had been squealing and laughing my head off at the seals that at one point had pulled Wendy backwards, it was brilliant.

Permanent grins on our faces after that dive in fact we both grinned for day’s afterwards. .

Everyone smiling....  almost..
Everyone smiling…. almost..

Alistair who was diving with Gordon (both taking pictures) was followed by a seal that was nibbling his fins on a few occasions. Alistair was oblivious of the whole encounter as he had his face glued to the camera. I’m sure he got some nice photos though of other things. Next time he should have a Go Pro on his head facing backwards!

Callum and Andrew practiced Zen buddying where Callum sat for ages all kitted up and waited on Andrew to finish kitting up. Congrats to Callum for his very Ghandi like calm. They also got to play with the seals and Callum also stroked one (not a euphemism!).

Callum found a large skull of a seal and placed it on a rock shelf, this was found on subsequent dives by Gordon and Alistair and Myself and Wendy, a cool find but we all left it there as we figured the Captain on the boat wouldn’t let us keep it (boo hoo).

Anna and Graham also got to play with seals on the surface near the island although the seals did seem a bit more cautious in shallower water.

Snorkelling on the surface.
Snorkelling on the surface.


All in all a fantastic weekend. We’ll be back in 2015.


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